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Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby climbnowworklater » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:50 am

nkan02 wrote:I recently did the traverse the second time from that approach and it is fairly straightforward. In fact, the lower trail has improved since 2 years ago. No problem at all finding the turnoff, etc. For some reason, I (we) had some trouble finding the "trail" in the upper basin, just before getting to Cottonwood lake, both up or down. Maybe it was just tricky with the overnight pack, but not too bad. I have a .gpx track, I'll update my 2 year old TR with it. Oh and we stayed at some religious retreat for some ridiculously cheap money. It was pretty nice. It's called "Baha" something. I would stay there again and one can pack in a lot of people in there if needed.


Regarding Cottonwood Creek TH: We are on the fence regarding this issue for this weekend. We have heard the trail was difficult but easier now. That's reassuring but not a concern given GPS. The issue: We read that the best campsites are around 10,000 and that leaves an approach similar to BHP from SCL in terms of time not difficulty.

So, are there campsites around Cottonwood Lake? It seems that if you can't camp near Cottonwood Lake then this route doesn't save much vs SCL. My thought was the whole advantage of this new route was to avoid BHP(overhyped?) and be at the base of the routes. But if you have to camp 45 mins away from the start of the routes, how is it better? Maybe I am missing something? Hopefully someone can add some info to that issue specifically.
"The best climber in the world, is the one having the most fun!" Alex Lowe

"In the mountains there is a strange market where you can barter the vortex of life for boundless bliss." Milarepa

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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby nkan02 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:01 am

Well, true, the best campsites are found en route. Some are just past the "ledges" near 11k, and some near the "turnoff" to the basin. Those are nice, spacious, roomy campsites with nice big trees for privacy. However, I camped at Cottonwood lake both times. No trees, little protection from the wind, but puts you at the bottom of Red Gully within 15 min. Similar weather both times, so 4am start puts you back at Cottonwood lake before noon. I even had time to add SE Crestone and Broken Hand peak to the traverse before the monsoon came.

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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby climbnowworklater » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:03 am

nkan02 wrote:Well, true, the best campsites are found en route. Some are just past the "ledges" near 11k, and some near the "turnoff" to the basin. Those are nice, spacious, roomy campsites with nice big trees for privacy. However, I camped at Cottonwood lake both times. No trees, little protection from the wind, but puts you at the bottom of Red Gully within 15 min. Similar weather both times, so 4am start puts you back at Cottonwood lake before noon. I even had time to add SE Crestone and Broken Hand peak to the traverse before the monsoon came.


Great response. Answered my questions perfectly. Thanks, that helps for decision making.
"The best climber in the world, is the one having the most fun!" Alex Lowe

"In the mountains there is a strange market where you can barter the vortex of life for boundless bliss." Milarepa

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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby SilverLynx » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:18 am

nkan02 wrote:Well, true, the best campsites are found en route. Some are just past the "ledges" near 11k, and some near the "turnoff" to the basin. Those are nice, spacious, roomy campsites with nice big trees for privacy. However, I camped at Cottonwood lake both times. No trees, little protection from the wind, but puts you at the bottom of Red Gully within 15 min. Similar weather both times, so 4am start puts you back at Cottonwood lake before noon. I even had time to add SE Crestone and Broken Hand peak to the traverse before the monsoon came.

How many miles is it from the Cottonwood trailhead to the camping areas by the lake?
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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby nkan02 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:29 am

So I've added the .gpx track to my old TR. It deviates from the standard route in the upper section of the Red Gully as we left the gully and ascended East Crestone first (with some sections of C4). The traverse route is as standard as it can get. A word of caution on the descent from Crestone Needle - I believed we descended the East gully this time around, we never switched from/to the West gully. So just be careful/mindful of this. Rock seemed pretty solid and the descent was Class 3+, so fairly similar to the West gully, maybe just a tad steeper. The ascent up and down Broken Hand peak was off-trail. Good luck to all this weekend, hope the weather cooperates!
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=10830

Jenny - I think Roach is pretty accurate on this - about 4.5 miles one way and ~4k vertical.

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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby Joel Moore » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:46 am

@nkan02 That is a good trip report and it definitely seems to be a good approach route, what was your total round trip distance including the peaks?

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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby crestone14ers » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:29 am

I've been up there seven times since 1975 and made it to 11, 100 ft where we camped in the trees during some massive rain storms and gully washer run offs at the height of the monsoon season in July.

The Cottonwood trail is now marked with pink ribbons which makes the trail much easier to navigate... for good or for bad.

The area's green undergrowth is much more lush now than ever before which can make the turn off to the lake more difficult to find.

The approach is one of my favorites in all of Colorado and hopefully it won't get overrun with people.

I've done the TH to Peak summit in one alpine push and the other times backpacked in.

It truly is a very special place that needs to be treated well by all those accessing it.

I have barely ever seen others there and there are bears and lions in the area!

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Re: Crestone Peak 9/7 and 9/8

Postby PedroCO » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:00 pm

I'm def interested in climbing Crestone Peak with some peeps this weekend. Hoping to head down there Saturday afternoonish from Denver and summit Sunday. Would like to try the cottonwood creek approach rather than hump it over Broken Hand Pass again (did the needle a couple of weeks ago). Juggling whether to backpack in some Saturday evening or just to do the whole schmear Sunday AM.

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